Whenever you get to taste Martinelli, you know it is a good week. And this one was no exception.
2013 Martinelli ‘Blue Slide Ridge’ Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Wine Spectrum 96, Antonio Galloni 94+: The 2013 Pinot Noir Blue Slide Ridge is the most powerful and tannic of the 2013 Pinots I tasted at Martinelli. Beams of firm tannin and acidity give the 2013 much of its energy, focus and intensity. The flavors are dark and savory, but not fully expressive today. Ideally, the 2013 should be cellared for at least another year or two. 237 cases produced.
Blue Slide Ridge is named for its magnificent formations of blue rock. Directly below the vineyard a sheer cliff drops into the small winding creek, the south fork tributary of the Gualala River, showing off great cerulean shards jutting out from beneath the earth’s surface. This vineyard site was nearly named “Rattle Snake Ridge” due to the large population of rattlers that populate the cool hollows beneath the great blue rocks. In 1995 my parents, Lee and Carolyn Martinelli, planted this 6 acre vineyard of Pinot Noir on a steep slope which was once prime grazing land for sheep. This small vineyard was planted to the specifications of our former winemaker, Helen Turley and her husband John Wetlaufer. The denser spacing creates more intense flavor in the grapes because each individual vine is asked to focus more attention onto a fewer number of grape clusters. This vineyard is truly a “coastal” vineyard, being located on the second ridge inland from the Pacific coastline.
2012 Mark Herold ‘Herold’ (Brown Label) Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 95+: Dramatic, dark and penetrating immediately describe this wine. The color is a deeply saturated blue/black hue. Brooding from the glass is a landscape of layered scents: huge aromas of blackberries, black cherries, currants intermixed with espresso, crème de cassis, wet brick with nuances of dried flowers, black olives, and sage brush. A powerful mouth presence reveals extracted flavors of roasted black fruits showcased within a supple tannin framework is evidence of this wines fine sense of balance. Concentration, resolved fine-toothed tannins, and lingering rich flavors are hallmarks of this wine. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy the 2012 Herold Cabernet over the next 15 to 20 years. 400 cases produced.
2012 Arkenstone ‘NVD’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 95+: There is nothing sedate about this wine. The vibrancy practically jumps out of the bottle upon opening. Plum, black cherry pie, mocha and baking spices move on to a hint of soft lily on the nose. Boysenberry, raspberry, ripe red cherry and rhubarb balance perfectly with coffee bean, milk chocolate, and baking spices on the palate. Raspberry and blueberry accompany floral notes of jasmine and lilac on a very long finish. The concentration in this fruit, along with the very bright acidity and soft, elegant tannins make for a very well balanced wine. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 530 cases produced.
2013 Martinelli ‘Moonshine Ranch’ Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Wine Spectrum 95, Antonio Galloni 94: The 2013 Pinot Noir Moonshine Ranch is one of the juicier, more overt wines in this range. Dark red cherry, plum, spices, mint and dried flowers meld together in the glass. Pliant and expressive on the palate, the Moonshine Ranch is quite intense and voluptuous, but it also possesses a good amount of brightness and terrific overall balance. Rose petals and sweet red cherries add the final layers of nuance.
2013 TOR ‘Durell Vineyard’ Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley
Wine Spectrum 95: As always the Durell Vineyard Chardonnay is the more gold colored of the Chardonnays and shows its California heritage in full glory. The 2013 is perhaps the biggest and richest Durell we have had since the 2007 vintage. This is very rich and silky on the palate with hazelnut, cream, brioche and a long, complex lingering finish. Though clearly drinkable now this wine should easily hold and improve over the next five years. 250 cases produced.
2011 Robert Foley Pinot Noir, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 94+: Garnet red in hue, this 2011 Napa-Carneros Pinot Noir from the Hudson Vineyard pops with ripe raspberry aromas and suggestions of camphor and red rose. Bright acidity lifts these aromatics and frames a medium-weight, flavorful body that resolve in the long lingering finish with a very subtle touch of toasty French oak. Aged one year in 100% new Burgundian cooperage and another year in the bottle, the 2011 Pinot Noir is drinking very well with ample natural acidity to lie down and continue to develop for years to come. (600 cases produced)
2013 Peirson Meyer ‘Charles Heintz Vineyard’ Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
Wine Spectrum 94: A great vintage from the Charles Heintz Vineyard with gorgeous expressions of fresh apricot, orange blossoms and marmalade. The mineral expressions are incredible; from flint to oiled metal, the mineral and fruit notes seem to continually combine and change in the glass offering endless possibilities. What makes this vintage particularly attractive with the Heintz, is the restraint it shows on the palate. Not overdone, the palate is clean, focused with ample weight while maintaining an elegant finish. About 300 cases produced.
2013 Slacker Wines ‘Poseur’ Rhone Blend, Paso Robles
Wine Spectrum 94: Yeah, we might agree that being a poseur, or acting like something you’re not, especially doing so with a snob attitude, is something that could get real old, real fast, like stadium anthem music, but we also think that there are times when being a poseur is pretty damn fun. The 2013 Poseur hails from the Willow Creek district in Paso Robles. It’s swimming with the big boys, having fun while others worry about expectations, reviews and scores. It may not be trying too hard, but it’s not not trying…A blend of Tempranillo, Tannat, Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. 800 cases produced.
2012 Vogelzang ‘Reserve’ Viognier, Happy Canyon
Wine Spectrum 93: This Vogelzang offering represents some of the most meticulously farmed Viognier you will find. With perfect canopy management and pass after pass through the vineyard eliminating all but perfect clusters, we have produced a wine we are very proud of. Heady aromas of honeysuckle, orange marmalade and quince paste are surrounded by light spice nuances of clove and vanilla. Slight components of wet stone minerality and a rich palate are followed with a velvet and luscious lingering finish. You will find this wine melts in your mouth. 200 cases produced.
2013 Keever Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
Wine Spectrum 93: Bright, fresh lemons and ripe apricots meld with sweet notes of thyme and juicy pears in this fresh, crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Showing just a touch of minerality at the forefront of the palate, the entry is dry but broad and creamy. Those fresh citrus aromas are once again enjoyed as the mid-palate abounds with bright citrus and stone-fruit flavors. This wine‘s light, bright crisp structure shows energy and freshness throughout the palate and during the lovely, perfumed finish. 450 cases produced.